Weather - Cloud types, Precipitation and lightning

This gallery covers clouds, rain, snowflakes, storms, and even a sundog. The moon phases and a lunar eclipse are also featured.
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1 Weather is with us every day, good or bad, cold or warm, calm or windy --- we can't escape it. Weather on Earth is dependent on 3 factors - the <strong>Sun</strong>, <strong>water</strong>, and the <strong>atmosphere</strong>. The atmosphere goes up to...

Weather is with us every day, good or bad, cold or warm, calm or windy --- we can't escape it. Weather on Earth is dependent on 3 factors - the Sun, water, and the atmosphere. The atmosphere goes up to...

Weather is with us every day, good or bad, cold or warm, calm or windy --- we can't escape it. Weather on Earth is dependent on 3 factors - the Sun, water, and the atmosphere. The atmosphere goes up to 74 miles above the earth, however, the weather only reaches a maximum altitude of 9 miles. The water that we have on Earth is the same water that has been here since the beginning of time. I like to see the look on my students' faces when I tell them that the water they drink and swim in today is the same water that the dinosaurs drank and swam in! If they say, "Oooh, gross!" I tell them they had better never go to Mars or on an extended space mission! :) 3450
2 <strong>The Water Cycle</strong>
When the sun shines on the Earth it causes the water to <em>e<u>vapor</u>ate</em> (note the word "vapor") and go into the air. If the vapor rises high into the atmosphere, gets cold and then the molecules begin to stic...

The Water Cycle When the sun shines on the Earth it causes the water to evaporate (note the word "vapor") and go into the air. If the vapor rises high into the atmosphere, gets cold and then the molecules begin to stic...

The Water Cycle When the sun shines on the Earth it causes the water to evaporate (note the word "vapor") and go into the air. If the vapor rises high into the atmosphere, gets cold and then the molecules begin to stick together, condensation occurs and clouds form. If the clouds become saturated and can no longer hold the moisture, precipitation occurs in the form of rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain, or hail. Condensation and precipitation occur on a glass with a cold drink on a humid day, resulting in a water ring on the table. There is a common misconception that the water gets on the side of the glass when the glass "sweats". I explain to my students that in order to sweat, water has to come out of something, (like their armpits!) water doesn't come out of the glass. 8342
3 <strong>Cirrus clouds</strong> - good weather

These wispy <strong>Cirrus</strong> clouds were photographed high above Utah. The word <em>cirrus</em> means "hair curl" in Latin. These high, thin clouds can stretch for miles, thus the name "mare's tai...

Cirrus clouds - good weather These wispy Cirrus clouds were photographed high above Utah. The word cirrus means "hair curl" in Latin. These high, thin clouds can stretch for miles, thus the name "mare's tai...

Cirrus clouds - good weather These wispy Cirrus clouds were photographed high above Utah. The word cirrus means "hair curl" in Latin. These high, thin clouds can stretch for miles, thus the name "mare's tails". These clouds are found up to 7 miles high in the sky, where temperatures can be as low as -80 degrees F. Cirrus clouds are made of ice crystals, they do not make rain. This type of cloud can be a precursor to coming rain in 1 - 2 days, depending on the direction of the wind. 2094
4 A <strong>Sundog</strong> is an "icebow". It forms when the sun shines through the ice crystals of cirrus clouds at a specific angle. The crystals break up the white light of the sun into the spectrum - ROY G. BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, ind...

A Sundog is an "icebow". It forms when the sun shines through the ice crystals of cirrus clouds at a specific angle. The crystals break up the white light of the sun into the spectrum - ROY G. BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, ind...

A Sundog is an "icebow". It forms when the sun shines through the ice crystals of cirrus clouds at a specific angle. The crystals break up the white light of the sun into the spectrum - ROY G. BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). Sometimes a pale halo of light can be seen around the sun or moon when the light shines through the thin layer of ice crystals. Kenny and I spotted this one afternoon in mid-January 2007 on the way to Atlanta to John Shaw's nature photography workshop. 2321
5 This was the most defined Sundog I have ever seen, how lucky I was to have my camera! This was taken on Feb. 23, 2007. Stormy weather was predicted for the following day.

This was the most defined Sundog I have ever seen, how lucky I was to have my camera! This was taken on Feb. 23, 2007. Stormy weather was predicted for the following day.

This was the most defined Sundog I have ever seen, how lucky I was to have my camera! This was taken on Feb. 23, 2007. Stormy weather was predicted for the following day. 1652
6 A close up of the Sundog. I wish it had been a full circle!

A close up of the Sundog. I wish it had been a full circle!

A close up of the Sundog. I wish it had been a full circle! 1598
7 A sundog halo around the St. George Island Lighthouse in Florida.

A sundog halo around the St. George Island Lighthouse in Florida.

A sundog halo around the St. George Island Lighthouse in Florida. 1294
8 A Sundog halo around my hand.

A Sundog halo around my hand.

A Sundog halo around my hand. 1491
9 <strong>How a Rainbow Forms</strong>
This is a very simplified diagram of how a rainbow forms. Raindrops work like tiny prisms refracting the white light from the sun. Rainbows are seen when a storm passes and the sun shines through the raindrops. The...

How a Rainbow Forms This is a very simplified diagram of how a rainbow forms. Raindrops work like tiny prisms refracting the white light from the sun. Rainbows are seen when a storm passes and the sun shines through the raindrops. The...

How a Rainbow Forms This is a very simplified diagram of how a rainbow forms. Raindrops work like tiny prisms refracting the white light from the sun. Rainbows are seen when a storm passes and the sun shines through the raindrops. They can be seen only when the sun is behind the observer. 6319
10 I snapped this <strong>Rainbow</strong> after a late afternoon thundershower. When I noticed it was still raining to the east, but the sun was shining to the west, I suspected I might see a rainbow. Sure enough, I saw this pretty spectrum when I walked...

I snapped this Rainbow after a late afternoon thundershower. When I noticed it was still raining to the east, but the sun was shining to the west, I suspected I might see a rainbow. Sure enough, I saw this pretty spectrum when I walked...

I snapped this Rainbow after a late afternoon thundershower. When I noticed it was still raining to the east, but the sun was shining to the west, I suspected I might see a rainbow. Sure enough, I saw this pretty spectrum when I walked out to the street in front of the house. A rainbow forms when sunlight shines through raindrops, breaking up the white light into the 7 colors - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (ROY G. BIV). 1868
11 I was driving home one February afternoon when I spotted this <strong>strange cloud</strong>. I hoped it wouldn't change too much beore I could run in and get my camera. Fortunately, it didn't!

I was driving home one February afternoon when I spotted this strange cloud. I hoped it wouldn't change too much beore I could run in and get my camera. Fortunately, it didn't!

I was driving home one February afternoon when I spotted this strange cloud. I hoped it wouldn't change too much beore I could run in and get my camera. Fortunately, it didn't! 2196
12 <strong>Jet contrail</strong><br><br>

Jet contrail

Jet contrail

A contrail is a "cloud" formed from the water vapor in the exhaust of a jet's engines high in the atmosphere. A thin, short-lived contrail indicates low-humidity air at high altitude, a sign of fair weather,
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13 <b>Jet contrail</b><br><br>

Jet contrail

Jet contrail

Thick, long-lasting contrails reflect humid air at high altitudes, they can be an early indicator of a storm.
1506
14 <strong>Cumulus clouds</strong> <br><br>

Cumulus clouds

Cumulus clouds are the pretty, white, puffy mid-level clouds that often seen on a warm summer day. Children like to look for shapes of animals in these clouds. By themselves, there is not enough moisture to produce any precipitation. White clouds ususally don't make rain or snow. These clouds form due to rising warm air which contains moisture (water vapor), as the water cools in the higher atmosphere, it condenses to form minute water droplets which can be seen as a cloud. 3257
15 Clouds often form over mountain peaks. When warm, moisture-laden air meets the mountains, it rises and then cools causing the moisture to condensate and form clouds. If it cools enough, snow or rain will fall. This photo was taken in Frisco, CO.

Clouds often form over mountain peaks. When warm, moisture-laden air meets the mountains, it rises and then cools causing the moisture to condensate and form clouds. If it cools enough, snow or rain will fall. This photo was taken in Frisco, CO.

Clouds often form over mountain peaks. When warm, moisture-laden air meets the mountains, it rises and then cools causing the moisture to condensate and form clouds. If it cools enough, snow or rain will fall. This photo was taken in Frisco, CO. 2018
16 <strong>Lenticular clouds</strong> (a.k.a. Orographic clouds) form over mountains due to warmer, uprising air. The technical name for these clouds is: <em>altocumulus standing lenticularis</em>. <em>Lenticular</em> means "lens shaped". They normally al...

Lenticular clouds (a.k.a. Orographic clouds) form over mountains due to warmer, uprising air. The technical name for these clouds is: altocumulus standing lenticularis. Lenticular means "lens shaped". They normally al...

Lenticular clouds (a.k.a. Orographic clouds) form over mountains due to warmer, uprising air. The technical name for these clouds is: altocumulus standing lenticularis. Lenticular means "lens shaped". They normally align at right-angles to the direction of the wind. As a note of interest, sailplane pilots look for these types of clouds because they indicate a long series of standing wind waves. These kinds of winds can take a glider to great altitudes and for long distances. I have a friend, Cecil Craig, who flew a glider 268 miles in 1967 from Mt. Rainier in Washington to Crater Lake in Oregon by following a series of these winds over the Cascade mountain range. He broke a few world records with that flight! This photo was taken in Colorado at Keystone Ski Resort, Breckenridge Resort can be seen far in the distance. 1975
17 Mt. Rainier looked "angelic" with a halo-like <em>cap cloud</em>, but these clouds are anything but heavenly; they are formed by strong upper level winds, making for some dangerous conditions for climbers. These clouds usually indicate a change in the ...

Mt. Rainier looked "angelic" with a halo-like cap cloud, but these clouds are anything but heavenly; they are formed by strong upper level winds, making for some dangerous conditions for climbers. These clouds usually indicate a change in the ...

Mt. Rainier looked "angelic" with a halo-like cap cloud, but these clouds are anything but heavenly; they are formed by strong upper level winds, making for some dangerous conditions for climbers. These clouds usually indicate a change in the next day's weather. Sure enough, we did not see the mountain the following day, it was socked in by low clouds. Many high mountains "make their own weather". We heard that the mountain is visible only 80 days out of the year, so we were happy we had an unobstructed view the day before this photo was taken. I was excited to see it look like this too! 1922
18 The Balsam Fir trees on Clingmans Dome in the Smokies were killed years ago by a combination of Wooly Balsam Adelgids and acid rain. Air pollution from coal-fired power plants creates nitric acid in the clouds, the change in pH affects the plants, anim...

The Balsam Fir trees on Clingmans Dome in the Smokies were killed years ago by a combination of Wooly Balsam Adelgids and acid rain. Air pollution from coal-fired power plants creates nitric acid in the clouds, the change in pH affects the plants, anim...

The Balsam Fir trees on Clingmans Dome in the Smokies were killed years ago by a combination of Wooly Balsam Adelgids and acid rain. Air pollution from coal-fired power plants creates nitric acid in the clouds, the change in pH affects the plants, animals and water in the area. This photo was taken the day after Tropical Storm Cindy came through in July 2005. Sadly, the air is seldom this clear in the summer. 2140
19 Cumulus clouds as seen from the air. The vertical cloud in the middle has a strong updraft of warm air giving it much more height than the surrounding clouds. When I was growing up, my father worked for the airlines, so we flew fairly often. I remember...

Cumulus clouds as seen from the air. The vertical cloud in the middle has a strong updraft of warm air giving it much more height than the surrounding clouds. When I was growing up, my father worked for the airlines, so we flew fairly often. I remember...

Cumulus clouds as seen from the air. The vertical cloud in the middle has a strong updraft of warm air giving it much more height than the surrounding clouds. When I was growing up, my father worked for the airlines, so we flew fairly often. I remember once looking out at clouds like these and telling my father I'd like to jump out of the plane and bounce on the clouds! 1884
20 <strong>Stratus clouds</strong> - rain or snow clouds

I like this view of the tops of these low <strong>stratus</strong> clouds, I snapped it just before the plane slipped through them. It is strange to fly above these clouds being in the sun and th...

Stratus clouds - rain or snow clouds I like this view of the tops of these low stratus clouds, I snapped it just before the plane slipped through them. It is strange to fly above these clouds being in the sun and th...

Stratus clouds - rain or snow clouds I like this view of the tops of these low stratus clouds, I snapped it just before the plane slipped through them. It is strange to fly above these clouds being in the sun and then suddenly be in the rain when the plane drops below them. Stratus means "sheet-like", I tell my students to think of the sheet they sleep under on their bed, it is low, flat, and covers a lot of area like these clouds. Stratus clouds are usually no higher than a mile above the ground, but they can cover an entire state or even a large region of the country. They bring precipitation in the form of rain or snow. 3561
21 Stratus clouds seen from above.

Stratus clouds seen from above.

Stratus clouds seen from above. 2006
22 The <strong>Types of Precipitation</strong> depend on the temperature of the air. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), so any water falling from the clouds when the air temperature is above 32 degrees (red in this diagram) will b...

The Types of Precipitation depend on the temperature of the air. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), so any water falling from the clouds when the air temperature is above 32 degrees (red in this diagram) will b...

The Types of Precipitation depend on the temperature of the air. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), so any water falling from the clouds when the air temperature is above 32 degrees (red in this diagram) will be in the liquid form of rain. Air can be at different temperatures at different altitudes. If rain meets subfreezing air near the ground it will freeze on contact with any solid surface, it then becomes freezing rain. If enough ice accumulates, an ice storm occurs, this is the most dangerous form of precipitation because of the widespread damage it can cause. If raindrops fall into subfreezing air high enough they will freeze and become little pellets of ice called sleet, which is simply frozen raindrops. If water freezes in the clouds and stays frozen, it will fall in the form of snow. Hail is the 5th form of precipitation, it forms only in huge cumulonimbus (thunderstorm) clouds with strong internal ascending and descending winds. 13759
23 <strong>Water molecules in a snowflake</strong>

Water molecules in a snowflake

Water molecules in a snowflake 2635
24 <strong>A Trio of Snowflakes</strong>

I will never give "Snowflake" Bentley or Kenneth Libbrecht any competition with photos like this, but at least I can sort of show what an individual snowflake looks like. ;)These snowflakes were photographed on ...

A Trio of Snowflakes I will never give "Snowflake" Bentley or Kenneth Libbrecht any competition with photos like this, but at least I can sort of show what an individual snowflake looks like. ;)These snowflakes were photographed on ...

A Trio of Snowflakes I will never give "Snowflake" Bentley or Kenneth Libbrecht any competition with photos like this, but at least I can sort of show what an individual snowflake looks like. ;)These snowflakes were photographed on March 8, 2008. Their symmetry is so pretty! These are the dendrite type of snowflake. There are also plates, columns and needles. Dendrites are the prettiest and most delicate; they form when the air temperature is at 3 to 10 degrees F. I needed a sheltered, cold, flat, dull, black surface to get a good photo --- the shelf of the gas grill worked perfectly! Mr. Bentley and Mr. Libbrecht used microscopes to get their breathtaking photos of snowflakes, this one was taken with a 105mm macro lens. I had a hard time getting this photo due to the biting wind, my watering eyes, and getting-colder-by-the-minute fingers. Once I had just focused on a beautiful snowflake and a gust of wind blew it away! :( Since it is nearly impossible to take pictures wearing thick ski gloves, I have some thin neoprene shooters' (as in guns) gloves that I wear, they are ok for a while, but eventually the cold penetrates. Working with a macro lens is tricky because of the very narrow depth of field, you can see the small strip of the photo that is in sharp focus. 2485
25 See? It's true, no 2 Snowflakes are alike! Too bad the middle one had a few points broken off! I like this photo because it shows 2 of the different types of snowflakes. The shape a snowflake has is determined by the air temperature in the clouds. The ...

See? It's true, no 2 Snowflakes are alike! Too bad the middle one had a few points broken off! I like this photo because it shows 2 of the different types of snowflakes. The shape a snowflake has is determined by the air temperature in the clouds. The ...

See? It's true, no 2 Snowflakes are alike! Too bad the middle one had a few points broken off! I like this photo because it shows 2 of the different types of snowflakes. The shape a snowflake has is determined by the air temperature in the clouds. The snowflakes on the top right and left are dendrite. The middle one is a sector plate. Plate snowflakes form in temperatures of 10 to 14 degrees. The more complicated dendrites form at 3 - 10 degrees. It is possible to have more than one type of snowflake depending on what part (air temperature) of the cloud it formed in. A good website to learn more about snowflake types is: Types of snowflakes. This photo was taken with a 105mm macro lens and a flash. I catch myself holding my breath so I don't melt them or blow them away! 2013
26 Snow comes in different shapes determined by the temperature of the clouds where they form. This mix of <em>needles</em> and <em>graupel</em> occured on Jan. 7, 2010. Needles form when the cloud temperature is between 21 - 25 degrees Farenheit. Graupel...

Snow comes in different shapes determined by the temperature of the clouds where they form. This mix of needles and graupel occured on Jan. 7, 2010. Needles form when the cloud temperature is between 21 - 25 degrees Farenheit. Graupel...

Snow comes in different shapes determined by the temperature of the clouds where they form. This mix of needles and graupel occured on Jan. 7, 2010. Needles form when the cloud temperature is between 21 - 25 degrees Farenheit. Graupel is little balls of snow. 1560
27 <b>Snowflake with rime ice</b><br><br>

Snowflake with rime ice

Snowflake with rime ice

The tiny white particles on this snowflake are rime ice, water droplets that froze to the crystal as it fell through the cloud. This gives you an idea of how tiny cloud droplets are!
331
28 <b>Snowflake with rime ice</b><br><br>

Snowflake with rime ice

Snowflake with rime ice

I was disappointed with the snowflakes on 1-25-14, they were all covered with rime. If it had been completely covered with rime ice, it would have become a pellet of graupel. I call these "sugar-frosted" snowflakes.
1056
29 <b>Snowcone  graupel</b>

Snowcone graupel

Snowcone graupel I was surprised to see this type of graupel during a brief period in a snowfall in March 2013! They looked like tiny white chocolate drops. 1009
30 <strong>A Column Snowflake</strong> amid a jumble of other small snow crystals. 
Feb. 2, 2009 

On Groundhog Day we had a heavy, wet snowfall. It was enough to get school closed! So, I rushed home and put the macro lens on my camera to try and photo...

A Column Snowflake amid a jumble of other small snow crystals. Feb. 2, 2009 On Groundhog Day we had a heavy, wet snowfall. It was enough to get school closed! So, I rushed home and put the macro lens on my camera to try and photo...

A Column Snowflake amid a jumble of other small snow crystals. Feb. 2, 2009 On Groundhog Day we had a heavy, wet snowfall. It was enough to get school closed! So, I rushed home and put the macro lens on my camera to try and photograph some more snowflakes. Since it was right at freezing the flakes were shaped differently, many were thin plates, needles and even a few hollow columns like the one in this photo (they form at temperatures between 14 - 21 degrees F. I took this photo on black velvet that I stapled to a piece of cardboard. The material works beautifully for snowflake photography, the fibers hold the flakes up, they are not highly reflective and the snow brushes off them easily. Now I can't wait for another snowfall! :) Snow is white because it reflects all the colors of the spectrum. 2023
31 Hollow column and plates

Hollow column and plates

Hollow column and plates These types of snow crystals form when the temperature in the clouds is just below freezing. All 3 of these fell together, this is not a "staged" photo! 1168
32 <b>Columns</b><br><br>

Columns

Columns

These are hollow, hexagonal columns. These kinds of crystals form when the cloud temperature is 21 degrees F.
314
33 <b>Capped column</b><br><br>

Capped column

Capped column

Sometimes the columns are capped on the ends with snowflakes.
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34 <strong>Dendrite Snowflake</strong>
Feb. 3, 2009

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday we had the big, wet, clumpy snowflake clusters. Today the temperature dropped and I was able to get some individual snowflakes. I caught them on black velvet ...

Dendrite Snowflake Feb. 3, 2009 What a difference a day makes! Yesterday we had the big, wet, clumpy snowflake clusters. Today the temperature dropped and I was able to get some individual snowflakes. I caught them on black velvet ...

Dendrite Snowflake Feb. 3, 2009 What a difference a day makes! Yesterday we had the big, wet, clumpy snowflake clusters. Today the temperature dropped and I was able to get some individual snowflakes. I caught them on black velvet that I attached to a piece of cardboard. The velvet is not as reflective as other kinds of material, so it works very well! 2017
35 <b>Sector Plate Snowflakes</b><br><br>

Sector Plate Snowflakes

Sector Plate Snowflakes

Sector plate snowflakes are my favorite, they are highly varied and much more interesting than the dendrites. These were shot on 1-20-16.
345
36 <em>Sector plate</em> snowflakes occur when the cloud temperatures are between 10 - 14 degrees F. I think they are the most detailed and elaborate of the different kinds of snowflakes.

Sector plate snowflakes occur when the cloud temperatures are between 10 - 14 degrees F. I think they are the most detailed and elaborate of the different kinds of snowflakes.

Sector plate snowflakes occur when the cloud temperatures are between 10 - 14 degrees F. I think they are the most detailed and elaborate of the different kinds of snowflakes. 1730
37 This Sector plate snowflake looks more like a flower than a snow crystal. The variety of these snowflakes is incredible!

This Sector plate snowflake looks more like a flower than a snow crystal. The variety of these snowflakes is incredible!

This Sector plate snowflake looks more like a flower than a snow crystal. The variety of these snowflakes is incredible! 1887
38 <b>A double and single snowflakes</b><br><br>

A double and single snowflakes

A double and single snowflakes

When two snowflakes collide in a cloud, they can stick together and grow to form a 12-pointed double snowflake. This photo has a double crystal on the left and a single on the right.
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39 <b>A double snowflake with rime</s>

A double snowflake with rime

A double snowflake with rime 1009
40 <b>A pretty sector plate</b>

A pretty sector plate

A pretty sector plate 963
41 <b>An asymetrical sector plate</b>

An asymetrical sector plate

An asymetrical sector plate 1016
42 <b>Two sector plate snowflakes</b>

Two sector plate snowflakes

Two sector plate snowflakes 1020
43 <b>Two sector plates</b>

Two sector plates

Two sector plates The crystal on the right has another, out-of-focus snowflake above it. The center detail on the left crystal is interesting! 943
44 Another beautiful dendrite Snowflake. It was 13 degrees on the ground when I took this photo!

Another beautiful dendrite Snowflake. It was 13 degrees on the ground when I took this photo!

Another beautiful dendrite Snowflake. It was 13 degrees on the ground when I took this photo! 1636
45 <b>Two pretty dendrite snowflakes</b>

Two pretty dendrite snowflakes

Two pretty dendrite snowflakes 941
46 We enjoyed watching this <strong>Snow squall</strong> (center) as it moved across the flat land of eastern Idaho while we were skiing at Grand Targhee in western Wyoming.

We enjoyed watching this Snow squall (center) as it moved across the flat land of eastern Idaho while we were skiing at Grand Targhee in western Wyoming.

We enjoyed watching this Snow squall (center) as it moved across the flat land of eastern Idaho while we were skiing at Grand Targhee in western Wyoming. 1584
47 I was happy to get this photo of <strong>Frost</strong> on my husband's car. The patterns that water can take when it freezes is amazing sometimes! Frost and dew occur on nights when the sky is free of clouds because clouds act like a blanket to keep t...

I was happy to get this photo of Frost on my husband's car. The patterns that water can take when it freezes is amazing sometimes! Frost and dew occur on nights when the sky is free of clouds because clouds act like a blanket to keep t...

I was happy to get this photo of Frost on my husband's car. The patterns that water can take when it freezes is amazing sometimes! Frost and dew occur on nights when the sky is free of clouds because clouds act like a blanket to keep the air a bit warmer. Cold air can't hold moisture as well as warm air, so any moisture near the ground will condense onto anything colder than the air. The temperature was 22 degrees (F) when I took this picture at 9:00 a.m. Fortunately, the wind was not blowing! I really like the look of these feathery ice crystals. I'm already thinking of next year's Christmas cards! :) 1480
48 Frost crystals on a car window

Frost crystals on a car window

Frost crystals on a car window 2110
49 These frost crystals formed on my husband's car bumper. Some of them formed like snowflakes, others like needles.

These frost crystals formed on my husband's car bumper. Some of them formed like snowflakes, others like needles.

These frost crystals formed on my husband's car bumper. Some of them formed like snowflakes, others like needles. 1368
50 The <strong>Frost crystals</strong> on this Columbine leaf grew into hexagonal columns.

The Frost crystals on this Columbine leaf grew into hexagonal columns.

The Frost crystals on this Columbine leaf grew into hexagonal columns. 1373
51 <strong>Dewdrops</strong>

Dewdrops

Dewdrops 1349
52 Wall clouds indicate an approaching system

Wall clouds indicate an approaching system

Wall clouds indicate an approaching system 1464
53 "Red Sky at morning, sailors take warning.
Red sky at night, sailors delight!" 
There is some truth to this weather lore. In the early morning if the rising sun paints the clouds red, there will probably be rain coming during the day because the mois...

"Red Sky at morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors delight!" There is some truth to this weather lore. In the early morning if the rising sun paints the clouds red, there will probably be rain coming during the day because the mois...

"Red Sky at morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors delight!" There is some truth to this weather lore. In the early morning if the rising sun paints the clouds red, there will probably be rain coming during the day because the moisture is on the way. In the evening if the sunset turns the sky red, the moisture is on the way out and the next day the weather should be nice. This sunset photo was taken at Snowbird ski resort in Utah in Dec. 2005. 1597
54 Red sky at morning fortells a cloudy and possibly rainy day due to the amount of moisture high in the atmosphere.

Red sky at morning fortells a cloudy and possibly rainy day due to the amount of moisture high in the atmosphere.

Red sky at morning fortells a cloudy and possibly rainy day due to the amount of moisture high in the atmosphere. 1834
55 <strong>Cumulonimbus clouds</strong> grow vertically and often quite rapidly. I heard thunder minutes after taking this photo late one August afternoon. It is common in the summer to get pop-up thunderstorms due to the warm, moist, uprising air. These ...

Cumulonimbus clouds grow vertically and often quite rapidly. I heard thunder minutes after taking this photo late one August afternoon. It is common in the summer to get pop-up thunderstorms due to the warm, moist, uprising air. These ...

Cumulonimbus clouds grow vertically and often quite rapidly. I heard thunder minutes after taking this photo late one August afternoon. It is common in the summer to get pop-up thunderstorms due to the warm, moist, uprising air. These clouds can grow up to 60,000 feet in height; the higher the cloud tops the more violent the storm will be. These clouds can produce downburst winds, torrential rain, and sometimes even hail or tornadoes. 2168
56 <strong>Cumulonimbus clouds</strong> bring thunderstorms. This was a particularly nasty storm that Ken and I watched from the car on a small hill above the Civic Center Park in Oak Ridge in April 2006. The ominous dark color foretells the wrath that th...

Cumulonimbus clouds bring thunderstorms. This was a particularly nasty storm that Ken and I watched from the car on a small hill above the Civic Center Park in Oak Ridge in April 2006. The ominous dark color foretells the wrath that th...

Cumulonimbus clouds bring thunderstorms. This was a particularly nasty storm that Ken and I watched from the car on a small hill above the Civic Center Park in Oak Ridge in April 2006. The ominous dark color foretells the wrath that the storm was about to unleash upon us! This cloud is like a supersaturated sponge that can no longer hold the water. We had less than a mile to drive home before the storm hit --- we didn't make it! Cumulonimbus means "piled up rain cloud". These clouds are the "bad boys" of the cloud types, towering up to 7 miles high, capable of delivering pounding rain, downdraft winds, hail, and even tornadoes. The vertical winds inside these storms can reach 100 miles per hour. Hail forms when small ice crystals are lifted up inside the cloud and begin to grow, much like the layers of an onion. When the hailstone gets heavy enough, it will fall to the ground at up to 120 mph! Airline pilots will avoid these types of clouds at all cost. We once were flown miles out of our normal flight path and then under the cloud to avoid being in the worst of the storm. It was still a very bumpy ride, the passengers applauded when we touched down in Knoxville! 1612
57 Thunderstorms produce lightning because of the electrical charges produced in the clouds. The clouds become electrically charged due to static electricity that builds up when the water molecules are bounced around inside the cloud. The stronger the upd...

Thunderstorms produce lightning because of the electrical charges produced in the clouds. The clouds become electrically charged due to static electricity that builds up when the water molecules are bounced around inside the cloud. The stronger the upd...

Thunderstorms produce lightning because of the electrical charges produced in the clouds. The clouds become electrically charged due to static electricity that builds up when the water molecules are bounced around inside the cloud. The stronger the updraft winds, the more lightning. The negative electrical charge builds up at the base of the cloud and a positive charge builds up on the ground. Since positive and negative charges attract they meet to form a bolt of lightning. Sometimes when lightning is about to strike people may feel the hair stand up on their arms or the back of their neck because of the positive charges; that should be taken as a warning to seek shelter immediately. The tallest objects around are most likely to be struck, that is why people should never stand under a tree or be up on a mountain top during a thunderstorm. Lightning is 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun (54,000 degrees F), that sudden heat causes a rapid expansion of the air which results in the sound of thunder. The distance of lightning can be calculated by counting how many seconds it takes to hear the thunder after seeing a bolt of lightning, 5 seconds = 1 mile. Thunderstorms often preceed a rapid change in the weather if they are ushered in by an advancing cold front or warm front. Storms are associated with low pressure systems, the stronger the storm, the lower the barometric pressure. Hurricane Katrina had the 3rd lowest pressure readings ever recorded at 27.11 inches of mercury. Low pressure is caused by rising warm air, it is a bit difficult to breathe during a hurricane because the air pressure is so low. Low pressure systems, which move counter-clockwise, bring rain and bad weather, they are indicated by a red "L" on a weather map. High pressure systems on the other hand bring nice weather. The cooler, drier air sinks, it moves in a clockwise pattern. These systems are indicated by a blue "H" on a weather map. This is the Japanese Peace Bell in the park at the Civic Center in Oak Ridge. For more information on thunderstorms, see: Thunderstorm info 1714
58 <strong>A Squall Line</strong>

Kenny had wanted to see a thunderstorm over the Gulf of Mexico when we went to Navarre Beach on July 28, 2009; he got his wish! Just minutes after I took this photo, these kids had to get out of the water because it be...

A Squall Line Kenny had wanted to see a thunderstorm over the Gulf of Mexico when we went to Navarre Beach on July 28, 2009; he got his wish! Just minutes after I took this photo, these kids had to get out of the water because it be...

A Squall Line Kenny had wanted to see a thunderstorm over the Gulf of Mexico when we went to Navarre Beach on July 28, 2009; he got his wish! Just minutes after I took this photo, these kids had to get out of the water because it began to lightning. It is hard to judge the speed of a storm out over the water, so it caught up with us before we could get off the island. The wind blew the sand from the beach over the road, it blasted the car! The rain and wind were so strong we had to pull over before getting on the bridge. 1439
59 <strong>Lightning</strong> is formed by an imbalance of electrical charges in a cumulonimbus cloud. These large clouds have strong vertical and downdraft winds. As the water particles and ice crystals are violently bounced around within the cloud the p...

Lightning is formed by an imbalance of electrical charges in a cumulonimbus cloud. These large clouds have strong vertical and downdraft winds. As the water particles and ice crystals are violently bounced around within the cloud the p...

Lightning is formed by an imbalance of electrical charges in a cumulonimbus cloud. These large clouds have strong vertical and downdraft winds. As the water particles and ice crystals are violently bounced around within the cloud the positive and negative charges begin to congregate at the bottom and top of the cloud. Positive charges build up on the ground and negative charges build up at the base of the cloud. The negative charges begin to move downward in a zigzag stroke called a stepped leader (they cannot be seen at this point). Positive charges build up on the ground, congregate around the highest point (a tree, lightning rod, or even a person). Since positive and negative charges attract, the positively charged upward streamer begins to reach up toward the negatively charged, downward stepped leader. When the two strokes meet a bright bolt of lightning, called the return stroke, is visible. At 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit, a lightning bolt is 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun! The sudden, rapid expansion of air is heard as a clap of thunder. There can be no thunder without lightning. The sound of thunder travels at 5 miles per second, so it is possible to calculate the distance of lightning by counting how many seconds it takes to hear the thunder after seeing a bolt of lightning. Lightning rods are used to channel the electricity down to the ground if a building is hit. People can often feel the hair stand up on their arms, their head or the back of their neck before a lightning strike (note the little stick man!). Never stand under a tree during a thunderstorm, if it is struck by lightning it could be fatal. A car or a building is the safest place to be. 4964
60 I was excited to catch this <strong>Lightning</strong> in action during an evening thunderstorm in June 2007. This was the first time I had used my "bulb" shutterspeed setting on my new camera. I propped the camera up on the bedroom windowsill (with th...

I was excited to catch this Lightning in action during an evening thunderstorm in June 2007. This was the first time I had used my "bulb" shutterspeed setting on my new camera. I propped the camera up on the bedroom windowsill (with th...

I was excited to catch this Lightning in action during an evening thunderstorm in June 2007. This was the first time I had used my "bulb" shutterspeed setting on my new camera. I propped the camera up on the bedroom windowsill (with the strap around my neck, of course!), set the aperture at wide open, put the camera in the manual setting, and pushed the button. It took nearly 100 shots to get just a couple of usable photos, but I finally got what I wanted! It is hard to believe that a lightning bolt is only 1" - 2" in diameter ! 1776
61 Lightning - multiple leaders

Lightning - multiple leaders

Lightning - multiple leaders 1550
62 <strong>This is why you don't want to stand under a tree during a thunderstorm!</strong>
This oak tree was struck by lightning outside my school in 1999. I live nearby and I saw the flash as I was cooking supper. When I heard the crack of thunder imme...

This is why you don't want to stand under a tree during a thunderstorm! This oak tree was struck by lightning outside my school in 1999. I live nearby and I saw the flash as I was cooking supper. When I heard the crack of thunder imme...

This is why you don't want to stand under a tree during a thunderstorm! This oak tree was struck by lightning outside my school in 1999. I live nearby and I saw the flash as I was cooking supper. When I heard the crack of thunder immediately after seeing the flash, I knew it had hit somewhere very close by. The next day I found out where it hit! The lightning blasted a 10 foot-long strip of wood from the inside of the tree (see left photo) and the bark was separated enough that I could put my hand between it and the tree. The intense heat of the lightning (54,000 degrees F) literally explodes the bark off the tree when the water is flash boiled! Sadly, it died and had to be cut down. It had been a wonderful shade tree on one of the playgrounds. This is a scanned photo of pictures I took with my film camera. 1771
63 <strong>Hailstone</strong>

I photographed this pea-sized hailstone during a brief, but violent spring thunderstorm. It was just outside my side door, so I didn't even have to get wet! Hail forms when small pieces of ice get blown upward in large cum...

Hailstone I photographed this pea-sized hailstone during a brief, but violent spring thunderstorm. It was just outside my side door, so I didn't even have to get wet! Hail forms when small pieces of ice get blown upward in large cum...

Hailstone I photographed this pea-sized hailstone during a brief, but violent spring thunderstorm. It was just outside my side door, so I didn't even have to get wet! Hail forms when small pieces of ice get blown upward in large cumulonimbus clouds. The stronger the winds, the more often the ice pellet will rise and fall inside the cloud, and the larger the resulting hailstone will be. Large hailstones can cause severe damage and injure people. 1898
64 <strong>Mammatus clouds</strong> - storm clouds

These mammatus storm clouds looked pretty ominous, but they just brought heavy rain. These kinds of clouds often occur after a thunderstorm. For more information on the formation of these clouds, see: ...

Mammatus clouds - storm clouds These mammatus storm clouds looked pretty ominous, but they just brought heavy rain. These kinds of clouds often occur after a thunderstorm. For more information on the formation of these clouds, see: ...

Mammatus clouds - storm clouds These mammatus storm clouds looked pretty ominous, but they just brought heavy rain. These kinds of clouds often occur after a thunderstorm. For more information on the formation of these clouds, see: Mammatus clouds Tornado clouds are often an eerie green. It is important to know the difference between a storm watch and a storm warning. A storm watch means that conditions are favorable for a storm; a storm warning means the storm has been spotted. 1649
65 <strong>Wind</strong> is moving air set into motion by changes in air pressure. This photo was taken during a break in a thunderstorm in Utah. The horizontal position of the flag shows the strength of the wind. A strong wind brings a drastic change in ...

Wind is moving air set into motion by changes in air pressure. This photo was taken during a break in a thunderstorm in Utah. The horizontal position of the flag shows the strength of the wind. A strong wind brings a drastic change in ...

Wind is moving air set into motion by changes in air pressure. This photo was taken during a break in a thunderstorm in Utah. The horizontal position of the flag shows the strength of the wind. A strong wind brings a drastic change in the weather. On this day, the temperature plummeted before the clouds departed. 1885
66 Ken and I were welcomed by this whirling salt storm on the banks of Great Salt Lake within an hour of our arrival in Salt Lake City in Oct. 2005. The lake level was very low and we had to walk quite a distance to reach the water line. As we walked I no...

Ken and I were welcomed by this whirling salt storm on the banks of Great Salt Lake within an hour of our arrival in Salt Lake City in Oct. 2005. The lake level was very low and we had to walk quite a distance to reach the water line. As we walked I no...

Ken and I were welcomed by this whirling salt storm on the banks of Great Salt Lake within an hour of our arrival in Salt Lake City in Oct. 2005. The lake level was very low and we had to walk quite a distance to reach the water line. As we walked I noticed a strange swirling, white cloud moving rapidly toward us. We realized it was a "salt devil", similar to a dust devil. We were quickly overtaken by it and buffeted by 50 - 60 mile per hour winds filled with dust and dry salt! It was hard to hang on to my hat, cover my camera, hold my breath and keep my eyes closed. This is a good example of a small low pressure system. 2033
67 <strong>Fog</strong>
When I told my father that I would like to jump out of the plane and land in the clouds when I was little, he said, "If you really want to be in a cloud, go outside the next time we have a foggy morning, and you will be walking in...

Fog When I told my father that I would like to jump out of the plane and land in the clouds when I was little, he said, "If you really want to be in a cloud, go outside the next time we have a foggy morning, and you will be walking in...

Fog When I told my father that I would like to jump out of the plane and land in the clouds when I was little, he said, "If you really want to be in a cloud, go outside the next time we have a foggy morning, and you will be walking in a cloud!" Fog is simply a cloud that touches the ground. This photo was taken as we flew along the central coast of California in June 2006. Fog is a nearly daily event along the California coast during the summer because of the warm air inland and the cold, moisture-laden air over the ocean. The fog usually "burns off" around 10 AM then returns late in the afternoon. 1556
68 A fisherman tries his luck along the foggy coast of Watsonville, CA. Fog horns are common along the coast to warn ships that land is nearby. We visited Half Moon Bay, CA on vacation in 1996. The motel where we stayed didn't bother to tell us that there...

A fisherman tries his luck along the foggy coast of Watsonville, CA. Fog horns are common along the coast to warn ships that land is nearby. We visited Half Moon Bay, CA on vacation in 1996. The motel where we stayed didn't bother to tell us that there...

A fisherman tries his luck along the foggy coast of Watsonville, CA. Fog horns are common along the coast to warn ships that land is nearby. We visited Half Moon Bay, CA on vacation in 1996. The motel where we stayed didn't bother to tell us that there was a fog horn right across the highway that blasted every 10 seconds 24/7, when we made our reservations! :( 1696
69 We only went to the top of Grand Targhee ski resort in Wyoming one time, it was socked in by clouds (fog) and we could barely see. It is not fun trying to ski on a trail and having no idea what is ahead of you. It is pretty amazing when you realize tha...

We only went to the top of Grand Targhee ski resort in Wyoming one time, it was socked in by clouds (fog) and we could barely see. It is not fun trying to ski on a trail and having no idea what is ahead of you. It is pretty amazing when you realize tha...

We only went to the top of Grand Targhee ski resort in Wyoming one time, it was socked in by clouds (fog) and we could barely see. It is not fun trying to ski on a trail and having no idea what is ahead of you. It is pretty amazing when you realize that all this fog is just billions of tiny water droplets suspended in the air! 1541
70 I like this shot of downtown Chicago blanketed by fog, but it nearly caused us a lot of trouble. We managed to get a window of opportunity to land after circling for 45 minutes. Those little water droplets sure can cause a lot of problems!

I like this shot of downtown Chicago blanketed by fog, but it nearly caused us a lot of trouble. We managed to get a window of opportunity to land after circling for 45 minutes. Those little water droplets sure can cause a lot of problems!

I like this shot of downtown Chicago blanketed by fog, but it nearly caused us a lot of trouble. We managed to get a window of opportunity to land after circling for 45 minutes. Those little water droplets sure can cause a lot of problems! 1792
71 We were amazed to see this spectacular view of fog in the Grand Canyon as we flew home from a Dec. 2004 ski trip in Utah. It looked as though the canyon was filled with swirling milk! The canyon has been cut through by the Colorado River over the past ...

We were amazed to see this spectacular view of fog in the Grand Canyon as we flew home from a Dec. 2004 ski trip in Utah. It looked as though the canyon was filled with swirling milk! The canyon has been cut through by the Colorado River over the past ...

We were amazed to see this spectacular view of fog in the Grand Canyon as we flew home from a Dec. 2004 ski trip in Utah. It looked as though the canyon was filled with swirling milk! The canyon has been cut through by the Colorado River over the past 6 billion years, slowly revealing the colorful layers of rock and fossils. 2100
72 Another view of the Grand canyon fog

Another view of the Grand canyon fog

Another view of the Grand canyon fog 1554
73 Cherokee Lake during the <strong>Drought of '07</strong>. The boat ramp is useless, it ends at the section in the middle of the photo, probably 100 yards from the lake. Needless to say, the marinas in the area were feeling the effects of the drought. M...

Cherokee Lake during the Drought of '07. The boat ramp is useless, it ends at the section in the middle of the photo, probably 100 yards from the lake. Needless to say, the marinas in the area were feeling the effects of the drought. M...

Cherokee Lake during the Drought of '07. The boat ramp is useless, it ends at the section in the middle of the photo, probably 100 yards from the lake. Needless to say, the marinas in the area were feeling the effects of the drought. Many old cars, sunken boats, and other long-submerged objects were seen again for the first time in decades. Our area ended 2007 more than a foot below normal rainfall. 1688
74 Mud cracks from the Drought of '07. The drought has gripped the southeast so badly, some Georgia legislators want to reclaim a 1-mile section of Tennessee that was supposedly mis-surveyed in the early 1800's so the state can have access to the water in...

Mud cracks from the Drought of '07. The drought has gripped the southeast so badly, some Georgia legislators want to reclaim a 1-mile section of Tennessee that was supposedly mis-surveyed in the early 1800's so the state can have access to the water in...

Mud cracks from the Drought of '07. The drought has gripped the southeast so badly, some Georgia legislators want to reclaim a 1-mile section of Tennessee that was supposedly mis-surveyed in the early 1800's so the state can have access to the water in the Tennessee River! Now that is desperation for water! 1875

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